Jewish History

Lisa Moses Leff

Lisa Moses Leff joins host Jonathan Judaken to discuss her new book, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.  In the aftermath of the Holocaust, wracked by grief and determined to facilitate the writing of an objective history of catastrophe, the historian Zosa Szajkowski gathered evidence of the persecution from Jewish leaders in Paris and from the wreckage of bombed-out buildings in Berlin. Many Jews in France and the United States saw his collecting of those papers as a heroic effort; however, in time, this "rescuer" became a thief. Most of the documents he acquired in the 1950s—mostly pertaining to Jewish history in France since the seventeenth century—he stole from the archives.


Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History.